Book Review: The Other End of the Corridor
Leela was destined to be unlucky right from her birth, her being a manglik and all. Her parents had always favored her younger brother Sanjay over her and finally when a wedding alliance presented itself in the form of Vishal, who was a manglik himself, her parents were more than happy to get Leela married off. Little did they know that they were setting in motion a chain of events that would spiral into what would be nothing short of a nightmare for their daughter in terms of her life after marriage.
While the story of Leela is one that all of us keep reading bits and pieces of in newspapers and hear about in TV shows, what the author Sujata Rajpal has done with this book The other end of the Corridor is that she has successfully managed to engage the readers’ interest in this story of everyday marital struggles that quite a substantial portion of Indian women face but never quite come out into the open with. I am more than sure that incidents of the nature that happen in Leela’s life, happen in almost all cities and towns in India, but never see the light of day due to various reasons, primary among them being extremely patriarchal or regressive (for lack of better words to describe them) mindsets prevailing in Indian society today. Even today, as long as a woman remains married, it really doesn’t matter if the husband is an alcoholic, abusive or even borders on criminally sociopathic behavior. And it is for this reason that authors and books like these need to be read, encouraged and discussed in the public domain. If not for anything else, at least to break the stigma and social barriers attached to such abusive relationships.
What worked really well for me in this book was the fact that the author uses extremely simple language to keep the action moving. The lack of any fancy terms or unbelievable plot points made the book a quick breezy read. In fact one of the most endearing traits about this book would be the use of the protagonist’s daydreams as I could personally relate to the same quite a bit.
The ending however seemed a little contrived. Why Leela did what she did in the penultimate chapter confused me quite a bit, and how one of the characters in the book suddenly disappears only to make a brief reappearance also left me a little confused. In hindsight I get the feeling that the author didn’t quite know how to bring a logical conclusion to the role that the character played and that kind of explains the sudden disappearance of the same.
The cons notwithstanding, this remains a decent attempt for a debut author especially given the choice of the powerful subject and theme. This is one book that mirrors societal realities in quite an easy to understand manner and while it may not provide answers to the same, it sure will make readers reflect on them.
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